House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan issued a subpoena Monday to Nina Jankowicz, the woman who first led then was ousted from the Homeland Security Department’s disinformation board.
Mr. Jordan said he’s been trying for 10 months to get Ms. Jankowicz to come forward but she’s rebuffed his entreaties, so he had to go the compulsory route and force her to give a deposition to the committee.
He also fired off subpoenas to two former senior officials at the National School Boards Association, who wrote to the Justice Department in 2021 demanding federal authorities crack down on parents upset at their local school boards.
Days after their letter, Attorney General Merrick Garland ordered the Justice Department to sniff around for “threats” to school boards.
Mr. Jordan said Chip Slaven, who was interim director of the national association at the time, and Viola Garcia, who was president, have also ignored his requests to come in voluntarily.
The subpoenas are the latest in a series of demands by Mr. Jordan, Ohio Republican who is eagerly flexing the powers of the GOP majority in the House.
Mr. Jordan said he first asked on May 5, 2022, for Ms. Jankowicz to testify. At that time the GOP was in the minority.
Mr. Jordan renewed his request on Dec. 1, when the GOP was still in the minority but poised to take control when the new Congress was sworn in.
He sent other letters on Jan. 27, Feb. 16 and March 1.
“To date, however, you have declined to comply voluntarily with our request for a transcribed interview,” he said.
Ms. Jankowicz was quietly appointed to lead Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’s ill-fated Disinformation Governance Board.
After her role was revealed, critics said she was an odd choice, given her own role in spreading misleading information on social media. Among those were claims that Hunter Biden’s laptop was a foreign disinformation effort.
Mr. Mayorkas gave conflicting accounts of what his disinformation board was trying to achieve, and faced withering criticism from Congress as he put the board on ice. Ms. Jankowicz quit.
But Republicans say there are still questions to be answered about what the board was trying to achieve, and what actions it took in the time before it was disbanded.
The school board controversy also continues to simmer, with Mr. Garland facing questions from senators during a hearing last week.
Republicans say the NSBA prodded him to release his memo ordering the FBI to keep an eye on local school board politics.
“Whistleblowers have disclosed that this memorandum resulted in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) establishment of a ‘threat tag’ and the Justice Department has confirmed that the FBI investigated at least 25 incidents as a result of the NSBA letter you co-signed,” Mr. Jordan said in his letter revealing the subpoenas.
Mr. Garland last week said he did not order parents investigated for expressing concern over their children’s education. He said he intended to root out “violence and threats of violence against a whole host of school personnel.”
He acknowledged he was prompted “in part” by the NSBA letter, but said he was also reacting to news reports about violence.
“Nothing in my memorandum says to investigate parents who are angry, quite the opposite. It says that the First Amendment protects that kind of vigorous debate,” he said. “The only thing we wanted was for an assessment to be made out in the field about whether federal assistance was needed to prevent violence and threats of violence.”